From the President

Dear colleagues,

It is encouraging that NSW and Victoria have announced their roadmaps out of lockdown and that restrictions are being eased in different ways across New Zealand. However, the most recent lockdowns have reinforced the need for the College to look carefully at the delivery of our examinations for trainees.

For the November OSCEs, the College plans to use an assessment software platform to facilitate an expanded audio-visual OSCE that will accommodate a greater number of candidates. The College will be proceeding with an audio-visual OSCE that is delivered from participants’ homes to minimise potential disruptions associated with COVID-19 restrictions. We understand this is a challenging time for all candidates, and developments around examinations are being communicated to all candidates regularly.

College events have also had to adapt throughout the year. Last week, the 2021 New Zealand conference was held virtually over three days, and delved into topics around the theme of 'Psychiatry: first or last resort – Te whakaoranga hinengaro: Te tuatahi, Te otinga raini?'. My thanks to the conference organising committee for organising a high-quality and stimulating program. Over 390 members attended and it was pleasing to see a very high level of engagement, with well-attended sessions and many questions being asked of speakers through the online Q+A function. The technical side of the conference ran smoothly, and many other College events have been adapted so members can now participate virtually. You can view the list of upcoming events here.

Earlier this month, the Australian Government approved a temporary expansion of the existing COVID-19 specialist telehealth items to include attendances for private admitted patients being treated in either a private or public hospital as a result of the College’s continuous advocacy and strong leadership for telehealth.

Recently, the College has published Position Statement 103 ‘Recognising and addressing the mental health needs of people experiencing Gender Dysphoria/Gender Incongruence’. The aim of this position statement is to guide psychiatrists and mental health professionals in how best to support people experiencing Gender Dysphoria. You can read more about the position statement here.

We have also published some new resources on coping with a patient suicide, with information sheets developed especially for those in psychiatry training, supervisors, and health services. These were developed by the RANZCP President’s Advisory Group on Suicide and are now available on the RANZCP website. Read the article here.

And finally, this month we are pleased to profile one of the College’s Board Directors, NSW Fellow Dr Nick O’Connor. You can read more about Nick here, including his responsibilities as Chair of the College’s Education Committee. In the coming months we will profile other members of the Board to help you get to know them and their work a little better.


Associate Professor Vinay Lakra
RANZCP President

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